What Happens When I’m Sick and Breastfeeding?

As a mom, being exhausted is a pretty normal part of having a new baby.  With lack of sleep and an intense focus on your little one’s needs over your own, there is a pretty good chance that your immune system will get run down at some point.  So what happens when you come down with the flu, cold, stomach bug or even food poisoning? If you are breastfeeding, it’s only natural to be worried about what you may be passing onto your baby and will most likely provoke the following questions:

Is it safe to breastfeed when I’m sick?

The short answer is YES.  For a run-of-the-mill illness, the benefits of continued breastfeeding far outweigh any negative ones.  The only two illnesses where breastfeeding is not recommended are HIV and lymphoma (HTLV-1), both very rare and unlikely to be an issue. If your doctor plans to manage your sickness with medications, just make sure they know you are breastfeeding so that what you’re being prescribed is safe for baby and won’t decrease your milk supply. You can consult the Infant Risk Center for specific medication guidance.

But won’t my baby get sick from me?

With any bug a mommy might catch, she is most contagious before symptoms appear and the body launches a full immune response.  Thus, chances are high your baby was already exposed to your germs before you started feeling sick at all. With your body now building up its own antibodies to fight the bug, these will naturally carry over into your breast milk to provide your baby the best immune protection possible.  Through breastfeeding, if baby gets sick they will recover quicker from the provided antibodies, nutrition, hydration, and comfort. While either of you is sick, don’t forget to follow standard illness prevention like washing hands, avoiding face contact and coughing away from your baby.

What about mastitis?

Mastitis is an infection of the breast that can lead to pain, swelling, and heat in addition to flu-like symptoms of fever and chills.  Although you may not be feeling well enough to breastfeed, it is actually the most beneficial thing you can do to fight the infection. Without regular milk expression, there is the risk of complications such as an abscess which can lead to further pain and being forced to discontinue breastfeeding earlier than planned. Heat, massage, rest, adequate nutrition and fluids and continued emptying of the breast thoroughly (either via baby or a breast pump) is key for recovery.

What you should do to recover.

Being sick while taking care of your baby is hard enough without having to add anxiety over the loss of milk supply!  So keep breastfeeding, eat healthy, and get enough sleep and fluids no matter what illness you’re battling. If baby is refusing to feed due to a change in milk flavor or consistency, use a pump maintain milk supply and promote optimal recovery.  Stay positive and know that you will get through this bump in the road with a little self-love while still being able to care for baby.  A little extra snuggle time while feeding is just what the doctor ordered!

Have further questions?  Contact a lactation specialist today here.

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Breastmilk During Disaster

What To Do With Your Breast Milk During A Natural Disaster

By Melissa Portunato, IBCLC

Dealing with a natural disaster can be extremely stressful. Here in the US, Hurricanes and other natural disasters threaten various parts of our nation.  With this comes the ominous thought that our precious, pumped mother’s milk may go wasted and on the other hand, that we may be faced with feeding our little one(s) during such a stressful time. You may ask yourself questions like How long will my milk be good for if the power goes out? How can I protect my freezer stash? Can I refreeze my milk? Don’t fret! We got you covered.

Losing your precious pumped milk is a BIG DEAL! Hard work goes into pumping and storing milk! Whether it’s a “date night” stash or a freezer packed to the brim, it’s YOUR milk. Your amazing body made it! It’s the superior form of infant nutrition and you want to keep it safe for your baby.

Check out these tips you need to know about how to properly handle your milk before, during, and after a natural disaster. Protect your precious liquid gold as best you can but most importantly, be vigilant and stay safe.

Tip #1: Get prepared. The Calm Before the Storm.

Before the storm hits, get prepared.  Start filling up water bottles, small buckets, and pretty much anything that will hold water and pack your freezer tight. The USDA tells us, contents in the freezer will remain frozen for 48 hours if full and 24 hours if half full. So don’t be shy about it and pack it up tight! Keep your milk in the center of the freezer and try not to open the door. You can fill up our Spectra milk storage bags with water and store them in all those small spaces. Turn your freezer to the coldest setting! If you know for a fact you will be out of power for a few days, pack your freezer with dry ice! This will allow you even more chilling time. Limit opening the freezer at ALL costs to protect the temperature inside and ensure it will remain safe for that 24-48 hour timeframe. If you can invest in a deep freezer (such as a chest freezer), that would be even better as the temperature can remain more stable (even lower temperature than a kitchen freezer), keep it packed tightly like mentioned above and closed!

Tip #2: My power is out now WHAT?

If you followed tip #1 , you will have on average (depending on how packed and cold your freezer was before you lost power) 1-2 days without having to worry about relocating your breastmilk. If you didn’t prepare, disaster struck without notice, or it’s been over 2 days and power is not back, it’s OK! Evidence tells us as long as your milk still has some ice crystals in it, it remains perfectly safe to be given to your baby. Some studies even discovered it’s likely your milk is still good even if it has completely thawed, as long as it has been kept cool for 8 hours it can even be refrozen! Ha-lle-lu-jah! But, please reach out to our IBCLCs if you have any concerns or questions about your precious milk before you provide it to your little angel.

Tip #3: I’m getting the HECK out of Dodge!

Call ahead to be sure wherever you are going has a freezer. This will save you lots of unnecessary stress! Any cooler will work, but it’s best to use a cooler that accommodates the amount of breastmilk that will be transported. Keeping it nice and snug will keep it colder longer. Tape the cooler too, just in case! You wouldn’t want the top to fall off, get lost, or shift in all the madness.

It would be awful if you would lose your breast milk stash but keeping your family safe during this time is the priority. Don’t let the transporting of your milk be the reason for a delay in an emergency evacuation. Plan ahead.  And if you do lose your stash, try not to beat yourself up about it. You did everything you could to save it. You’re an amazing mom! Focus on breastfeeding directly from the breast. If you are an exclusive pumper, keeping your baby close, skin to skin, can help stimulate your milk supply and help to replenish your lost milk stash. Plus, skin to skin can help calm mother and baby. Please remember you can always reach out to your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns, especially if you have a preemie or your baby is immune compromised.

To read more tips about disaster planning and infant feeding visit The CDC. Do you have additional tips?  Leave us your comments.


Am I pumping enough?

Am I Producing Enough Milk For Baby?

Every nursing mother wonders from time to time if she is producing enough milk. Hey, we’re moms, worrying and wondering is what we do. If you’re pumping, there is an added step to the dance of supply and demand. How do you know if you need to increase your supply? Should you pump more?

Some nursing mothers struggle with too much of a good thing. Their breasts are so full between feedings, they swell to freakish proportions and leak on everything. When these moms settle down to nurse, their babies sputter and gasp, trying to gulp down all the milk that pours out.  While this can be messy, embarrassing, even painful, it is also blissfully reassuring. Too much milk means they don’t have to worry about a starving baby. But what if you are producing a more manageable amount, does that mean your supply is inadequate? Not necessarily.

It could mean that your baby and your breasts are just really grooving well together. Your body might be matching what your baby needs perfectly. But, your mother-in-law keeps asking if you are sure the baby is getting enough to eat. You notice that your baby isn’t as pleasingly plump as the formula fed babies. You have just started to pump and not much comes out. You’re worried.

Is my baby getting enough milk?

There are a few ways to tell if your little one is well fed.

Weight gain

If your baby is gaining weight as expected, you probably don’t need to worry. But be aware that exclusively breastfed babies grow at a different rate than babies who are given formula or who are started on solids earlier than 6 months. Make sure your doctor is aware of healthy growth patterns for babies fed with breastmilk, and only breastmilk.

Average weight gain for the breastfed baby within the first month of life is approximately 1oz per day (or, 5-7oz a week). At four months of age, baby should be gaining about 0.6oz a day (or, 3-5oz a week).

An alert, happy, and active baby

A baby that isn’t getting enough to eat is either lethargic or will be miserably hungry, crying a lot and unable to sleep. All babies have a colicky time during the day; but, a baby who isn’t getting enough milk will be visibly upset for the vast portion of the day. If your baby seems content after eating, sleeps well, and is alert and energetic when awake, then he or she is almost certainly not hungry.

Noisy and messy feedings

Babies generally make swallowing noises and have drips of milk in the corners of their mouths when they are nursing. This is definitely a good sign. But some babies are more polite, so if all else is normal, don’t worry.

Peeing and pooping

At first, you should see several stools a day, and then later at least once a day. Even if stools are a little less frequent, they should be regular, soft, and easy to pass. Liquidy stools are common and normal for the breastfed baby. Formed stools aren’t present until solids are introduced. Breastfed babies also wet around seven or eight diapers a day. What goes in baby, must come out!

Am I pumping enough?

If your baby shows the above signs of being healthy and well nourished, then your milk supply is stable and adequate, and by definition, you are pumping enough.  But there may be times when you want to add extra pumping sessions to your day. 2oz combined breasts is the average pumping yield, anything over this amount is icing on the cake!

If you need to supplement

If for whatever reason your doctor recommends that you need to supplement, you can increase your supply.  There are few medical indications for supplementing and you can do so with expressed breastmilk, donor breast milk or artificial baby milk.  It is also possible to return to exclusive breastfeeding, with increased pumping and gentle, frequent exposure to breast. Pump every time your baby takes a bottle of breastmilk or artificial baby milk  If you can, add in an extra pumping session about an hour after you last pumped or nursed your baby.

You are new to pumping or transitioning back to work

Your body might need to get used to pumping. For some women, it works like a charm the first time, but others need to train their breasts and brains and hormones to let down in response to the pump, even with a pump that closely resembles the natural process.

But what if you don’t need to supplement yet, but worry that your milk supply isn’t quite keeping up? Or maybe you need to increase your supply so you can build up a stockpile of stored milk. There are ways to produce more milk naturally, with a combination of pumping and nursing techniques. Consult our Spectra Certified IBCLCs for targeted breastfeeding and pumping assistance.

Leave us your comments and/or questions below.

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Spectra breast pumps

Which Spectra Breast Pump is Right for Me?

by: Brittney F.

Let’s face it, Moms, there are A LOT of choices out there when it comes to breast pumps. If you’ve chosen Spectra, congratulations!  As a breast pump company, we offer the best options for the busy nursing Mother. Our pumps are versatile, discreet, and most importantly, NATURAL feeling. A lot of Moms find themselves here, asking themselves “which pump do I choose?”  To help you decide, we’ve put a list describing each and what it includes for you.

All of Spectra’s models include the following:

  • Breast Flanges
  • Wide Neck Bottles
  • Discs
  • Locking Rings and Caps
  • Duckbill valves
  • Backflow protectors
  • Tubing
  • Power Cord & Adapter


The S1 Plus

The Spectra S1 Plus offers up at an amazing 3lbs. Compared to lugging around those 12-pound breast pump “purses”, this thing is a dream. This rechargeable model is perfect for Moms on-the-go and working Moms alike. It is quiet, operating at the ‘noise’ level of a library and convenient. The S1 has a massage mode, that imitates your newborn’s sucking rhythm and adjustable suction level with a timer. The S1 model also includes a night light to help you see when you wake up for that inevitable 1 AM session.

The S2 Plus

The S2 Plus is Spectra’s all-electric premier model. It is perfect for Moms who stay at home with their little ones and can have a set place to pump. This model, even lighter than the S1 Plus, comes in at 2.5lbs. While it is lighter and does have all of the same features, this pump is not rechargeable. If you take it with you, you must bring the power cord to plug it in and stay in the same place while you pump.

The 9 Plus

The 9 Plus breast pump is amazing because you can literally stick it in your purse. It comes in at a whopping half a pound. What weighs half a pound? A tomato. A tomato weighs half a pound. This beauty of a pump offers the same features as the two previous models, minus the nightlight. Even more, it does not have to stay plugged in and it offers the most convenience and portability for on-the-go Moms. If you have a place to go, you can take this pump anywhere.

The Dew 350

This pump is a bit different from the other pumps. It’s near and dear to my heart because it is for Moms whose little ones are unable to breastfeed. Whatever your reason to need this pump, you can rest easy knowing that Spectra is there for you and understands what you’re going through. This pump has backflow protection and comfortable suction levels, just like the other pumps, but was designed with Moms who are just having a bit of trouble with breastfeeding. It’s not meant for all Moms, just Moms with little ones like my boy, who have feeding difficulties.


No matter what type of Mom you are, Stay-at-home, Working, On-The Go or Work-From-Home, Spectra has the right pump for you. You and pick up all of these pumps, as well as some super cute accessories like a gorgeous our black tote and blinged-out baby bottles at SpectraBabyUsa.com.  Leave us your comments below.


Copyright © 2019 | Spectra Baby USA

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